Icing on the stage

It’s roll-out-the-red-carpet time at Lily Langtry’s Restaurant and Showplace with the opening of its newest show, "Stars in Concert Ice Spectacular!"

Ice skaters from around the world have been flown in for this special musical production. The skaters are joined on stage by an entertaining comedian and Elvis, Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett impersonators.

The current show is produced by Nelson Foster, who has impressed TV viewers with his work on the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards and ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Foster also has done TV specials for Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, John Denver, Lynda Carter, Kenny Rogers, Don Rickles, Danny Thomas and John Wayne.

The Stars in Concert revue is a celebrity impersonator show that features stars of yesterday and today. All of the performers use their natural voices.

One thing to be emphasized about Lily Langtry’s is that dinner is dinner and theater is theater. I make this distinction because when you mention dinner theater, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is a buffet. And they’re right — it’s either that or a production-line operation that claims to have a menu, but is only distinguished for its blandness. I ought to know, having attended many dinner-theater productions.

But under the watchful eye of manager Phil Peluso, Lily Langtry’s in the Radisson Hotel at Valley Forge is a first-rate restaurant that takes pride in its cuisine. Chef Robert Gesek’s top-of-the-line individually prepared menu doesn’t take second place to the entertainment on stage.

The Victorian-style dining area is meticulously clean and every table has a good sight line of the stage. The audience area is roomy but not too large, and you have no trouble seeing the expressions on the performers’ faces.

An unusual feature in the current show is the large ice rink on stage. The choreographed dance routines are fluid and the performers have an eye-popping mixture of precision and form.

This show includes Maria Potcheikina and Oleg Petrov, an impressive skating couple who are gold-medal holders of the Cup of Russia. They are joined by Ryan Hunka, an international gold medallist, and Carla Ericson, who has performed in 32 countries in Disney’s World on Ice.

Cindy Narrelson doesn’t have stage fright or a political ax to grind, but she does a delightful job of impersonating Streisand. Her beautiful numbers include Something Good is Coming, Don’t Rain on My Parade and Somewhere. But I can’t imagine why she left out People. The talented Forte portrays Bennett with the performer’s signature song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco. A good lookalike for Bennett, Forte pleasantly works the audience, tossing in snatches of madcap humor, and then astounds everyone with his voice.

Johnny Seaton steps in as Elvis with everyone’s favorites, including C. C. Rider and Blue Suede Shoes. At 6-foot-2, Seaton projects the clean-cut image of rock ‘n’ roll. As the "King," you will easily identify his chiseled features, flawless physique and satin-smooth singing voice with the Memphis star.

Seaton performed his Elvis tribute to sold-out houses in Las Vegas for many years prior to taking the stage as the Elvis Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

In addition to dazzling ice routines and the performers, there is an amazing video interplay at both sides of the stage that includes film clips of the actual stars blended with real-time angle shots of the impersonator on stage. Not only do the impersonators look and sound like the real stars, but the editing and live camera work add to the effect.

Now celebrating its 20th-anniversary season, Lily Langtry’s includes an acoustically perfect wraparound sound system, intellibeam and roboscan lighting and an expanded stage area. The musical numbers sometimes take on the spectacle of a high-tech rock concert with controlled vari-lites. These multicolored, multidirectional lights create wonderful effects, like sunlight streaking through fog. Even the gourmet menu is constantly updated.

Stars in Concert Ice Spectacular
Lily Langtry’s Restaurant and Showplace
Valley Forge Radisson Hotel
1160 First Ave.
King of Prussia
Tuesday through Sunday, including five luncheon matinees